Visitor Question

Fell on curb outside a restaurant due to snow accumulation…

Submitted By: Kim (Fayetteville, AR)

I was walking out of a restaurant and tripped over a curb. The curb could not be seen because of the snow accumulation. I fell over the curb, dislocating my shoulder. I had to go to the emergency room and have my shoulder put back in place. I also have to follow up this week with an orthopedic doctor.

What is my recourse here? Is the restaurant liable for my doctors’ bills? What about the snow removal company? I’m not really sure what to do here, so any information you can give would be helpful. Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Kim,

The restaurant may be liable if the curb was located on their property, or they had a legal duty to maintain the curb area. There are however a couple of considerations…

Property owners, especially commercial property owners, have a legal duty to do everything “reasonably possible” to make their premises safe for all those people who are legally upon the property. This includes restaurant patrons like you.

When the commercial property owner fails in his or her duty, and a person is injured, that person has a legal right to pursue the owner for damages. Damages can include medical and therapy bills, out-of-pocket expenses (for medications, bandages, etc.), lost wages, and pain and suffering. Most commercial property owners carry insurance specifically for that purpose.

However, the restaurant owner’s duty is a “reasonable” one. That means if the restaurant owner couldn’t clear the snow fast enough because of continued snowfall, but made an effort to do so, then the restaurant owner may not be liable. In other words, as long as the restaurant owner did everything he or she could to remove the snow as quickly as possible, the owner may not be liable.

The snow removal company has no legal relationship with, nor a legal duty to you regarding your injuries resulting from the snow. As a result, it can not be held liable for injuries you received.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: March 1, 2015

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